Bitter leaf Soup (Ofe onugbu)

Bitter leaf is a green leafy vegetable with a bitter taste, used to cook different soup types in the southern, western, and eastern part of Nigeria and it is also used for the traditional treatment of different health problems. The Bitter leaf soup is the main component of the bitter leaf soup (ofe onugbu), well known and loved, especially by people of the eastern parts of Nigeria. This soup is one of the most delicious soups you can ever imagine.

In different ceremonies in the southern and eastern parts of Nigeria, bitter leaf soup is served with different swallow choices (semolina, eba, fufu, pounded yam, etc.). It is cooked with different spices which gives it a unique taste after thorough washing.

Bitter leaf is found mostly in the farms, markets and nearby stores and they can be easily planted in your garden. Some people don’t like this leaf’s bitter taste, so it is best advised to wash it well before use.

Bitter leaf juice is locally used for blood purification, weight reduction andblood sugar reduction in the body. The Igbo and Yoruba people use the washed leaf for cooking different soups like egusi and efo riro and it is also used for medicinal cases and also for blood sugar treatment.

The Igbos of Nigeria refer to it as onugbu, while the Yorubas  call it  Ewuro. Bitter leaf soup, (ofe onugbu), is one of the most popular soup in Igbo land.

The bitter leaves are either washed at home or bought in the market (already washed). In some cases, the leafs are washed in salty water, while sometimes salt is excluded, producing different results.

The Ingredients includes:

  • Red (palm) oil
  • Crayfish (blended).
  •  Meat (beef, turkey, goat, chicken).
  • Dried or roasted fish.
  • Stock fish head (okporoko).
  • Washed bitter leaves (Onugbu).
  • 2 cubes of Maggi (seasoning).
  • Ogiri or dawadawa (optional).
  • Coco yam (ede) as thickener.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.


  1. Start by soaking your stock fish for around an hour. After that peel and cook your coco yam until it is very soft; then pound it in a mortar until the paste comes out smooth.
  2. Wash the meat and season it with Maggi, Onions, garlic, ginger, and salt to taste.
  3. Leave it to cook for 10 minutes
  4. Boil the shaki (cow tripe), stock fish and dry fish in 1 litre of water till they are soft, cook for at least 10 minutes.
  5. When the meat is done, pour it in a clean plastic bowl including the juice, then put your pot on the cooking stove, pour some vegetable oil and heat up for 5 minutes.
  6. Make the coco yam paste into balls and add to the oil, then add more water and cook until the coco yam balls have all disintegrated into the broth.
  7. At this moment add your locust beans and heat up for 2 minutes then pour your fresh pepper, 2 Maggi cubes.
  8. Leave it for 5 mins and add your meat, stock fish, crayfish and dry fish, leave it to steam for another 5 mins
  9. At this stage you add your bitter leaf to the super delicious soup, and don’t forget to stir it well to get a proper final taste.
  10. Leave it to steam for 3 minutes and set it aside to cool down
  11. Add some salt to taste if necessary
  12. Enjoy the soup with any swallow of your choice.


  1. It is used to treat fever
  2. It prevents cancer
  3. It reduces the level of hypertension
  4. It is used for skin treatment (itching control)
  5. It serve as a treatment for typhus disease
  6. It serve as malaria treatment
  7. It increases your level of endurance
  8. It is a major treatment for diabetics
  9. It is used traditionally to treat the gallstone
  10. It controls diarrhea once taken
  11. Can be used for respiratory and tracts infections
  12. It is used locally to purify the kidney
  13. It controls the ear inflammation once applied
  14. It is used for toothache treatment

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